February is usually a happening period that sees a lot of bird and birding activity, and this month promises to be no different. Migrants hang out in large numbers in their wintering grounds while some resident species begin breeding by the end of the month.
The Great Backyard Bird Count
The main event this month is the GBBC, 17-20 February, during which a large number of people across the world spend four days looking for birds and reporting what they saw on eBird. In 2016, over 5,600 species were recorded from over 100 countries. In India, over 1,100 birders uploaded 7,900 checklists and recorded 785 species, more than any other country! You can read more about last year’s results here.
This year’s GBBC is all set to be the biggest in India so far. All that’s needed is to look for birds for at least 15 minutes during 17-20 Feb, and upload the list of what you see to eBird. You can do this as often as you wish, and from as many locations as you can over the four days.
The GBBC is also a great opportunity to spread the joy of birds and birding amongst non-birders. Birders are encouraged to conduct public bird walks or hold local events to get the message across. If you want to conduct something similar in your region, please do let us know here.
Campus Bird Count
The Campus Bird Count runs in parallel with the GBBC. It is aimed at documenting the birdlife of campuses across India, and raising awareness about birds at the same time. If you live, study or work on an education, institutional, research, corporate or any other campus, do join in! It’s a good opportunity to record what birds are found on campus, and to get others involved too.
Various other events take place this month across different parts of the country. The annual Big Bird Day takes place this year on the 5th of February. Birders in Manipal and around will be participating in the Manipal Bird Day on 5th Feb as well. The HSBC Bird Races continue this month with the Pune Bird Race on the 5th of Feb, and Mumbai and Hyderabad editions on 19th February.
The dry season atlas surveys are underway for the Kerala Bird Atlas. Birdwatchers there are trying to survey the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur.
In addition to all these events, the monthly challenges continue with the monthly eBirding and Gap-filling Challenges. February’s eBirding Challenge involves birding with other birders sharing lists during the GBBC period while the global eBirder of the month challenge asks you to bird with another birder at least once and share a list with them. Apart from these, don’t forget the 2017 yearlong eBirding challenges! The Last Birder Standing challenge continues from last month and several birders are going strong.
Have a wonderful birding February!